I am a plaintiff's attorney in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, specializing in nursing home negligence and medical malpractice cases. I have had Richard Strauss as a mediator on both a med mal and a nursing home case. Each time his name was proposed to me by defense counsel for a hospital in the first case and for a nursing home in the second case. He is both objective and effective.
Rather than starting the mediation with having the parties present opening statements, instead he speaks to everyone together about the process and explains his method of creating an open and conciliatory environment in which resolution of the case can be achieved. Then he goes back and forth between the parties in separate rooms from that point forward until the mediation is over.
Richard truly prepares for his mediations reading and analyzing all the materials submitted to him. In both of my cases, he demonstrated a thorough understanding of the facts as well as my theories of liability and damages. He shared with me and my client everything he liked about our case and then told us what it was he did not like about our case, including whatever strong points the other side might have. He did the same with the defense.
He was very good at explaining the process of the mediation and his opinions regarding the case to each of my clients who seemed to listen to what he said and in turn trust what he had to say. His defense background was actually an asset in that regard explaining what at times seemed unexplainable to the clients about the negotiation process and the progression of offers in response to reduced demands.
Without hesitation, I recommend him as a mediator.
Mary Ellen Cagney
Richard is one of the finest mediators with whom I have worked. He is intelligent, logical, compassionate, hard working, and very effective in bringing two adversaries to agreement and settlement. I recommend him highly.
Kenneth Chessick, MD, JD
I am writing this letter concerning a very favorable recent experience with Richard M. Strauss of MediateOne, Inc. who assisted us in successfully completing a serious nursing home case pending in central Illinois.
We became aware of Mr. Strauss at the recommendation of Stephen Strum, the defense counsel in the case, who had successfully mediated cases in the past with Mr. Strauss as well as with our co-counsel, Terry Brown, of Belleville, Illinois. Mr. Strum's description of Mr. Strauss was not only accurate, but the considerable expertise which Mr. Strauss demonstrated from his full understanding of the nursing home industry, the related risk analysis incidental to that industry, and his extensive experience as a claims manager and supervising insurance claims manager for a national nursing home system was most beneficial.
Once the mediation commenced, I was pleased to learn that what were glowing recommendations before the mediation were essentially understatements in terms of Mr. Strauss' level of preparation and understanding of the key issues in the case from both the plaintiff and defense perspectives. His opening comments began with creating an environment spawning compromise and resolution rather than advocacy. These opening comments were then followed by a very thorough discussion of the merits of the case and a critical analysis of the more important issues requiring further exploration before case resolution could occur. Mr. Strauss successfully managed to provide options and suggestions designed to avoid impasse and to assure productive settlement negotiations continued throughout the mediation.
Mr. Strauss appeared to put our clients at ease and allowed them ample opportunities to provide their input and assessments of the case which in a mediation environment is important in our view in providing the client their opportunity to have "their day in court". This aspect of the mediation also provided a healthier atmosphere for the clients.
Finally, Mr. Strauss' considerable national experience cuts through any perceived barriers relating to jurisdiction or venue as he proved to be a very effective mediator during our recent experience even though he was from another state. I would not hesitate to heartily recommend Mr. Strauss and his mediation service for use in future cases.
Gary D. McCallister
I write to strongly recommend Richard M. Strauss as a mediator. I have only had one case with Richard but he excelled at his job in that case. Our case was a wrongful death matter involving medical negligence in a small county in Central Illinois.
It was the defense who asked for mediation and to mediate with Richard. Not having any personal relationship with him, I checked him out, and all those I contacted said that he was unbiased, competent and caring. I found that absolutely to be true. Our case involved a post-operative hemorrhage that went undiagnosed and the patient exsanguinated in the hospital. Richard was very knowledgeable on the medical issues of the case. He accurately perceived that there were really no viable defenses to the case although he did caution me that there were some issues the way the case was postured at the time of the mediation that could potentially cut both ways. I found his insights to be useful in perhaps tempering my view of the very high value of the case.
Richard was completely prepared for our mediation. My client, then a 37 year old widow, felt very comfortable with Richard and with his process. The defense had multiple lawyers and multiple insurance representatives. While I am certain that they felt comfortable with Richard because they had worked with him in other cases, I did not feel Richard favored one side or the other-he evaluated the case, the contentions, the parties positions, and worked to achieve a mutually beneficial settlement.
When it became apparent at about 2:30 or 3 p.m. that a settlement was not to be, Richard did not waste anyoneís time, and the mediation terminated with his promise to be available to the parties at any time by phone or otherwise to further discuss the case.
I took Richard up on that offer, and he did try to assist the parties in coming closer together between the time of our mediation and the trial, one year later. Richardís efforts were excellent but unavailing. The day before jury selection at a court mediated conference, the case resolved. I am certain Richardís input helped to achieve the settlement.
I would strongly recommend Richard to mediate cases that other plaintiffs or defendants in medical or personal injury cases need assistance with.
Bruce R. Pratt
Richard, just writing to express me and my client's sincerest thanks for your diligence and professionalism in resolving this case. You went above and beyond the call of duty, and we appreciate it very much.
William M. Sweetnam
As a prefatory note to the comments made hereinafter, I think it important to state that my office does nothing but plaintiff work, with a significant emphasis on medical cases. I have now mediated two cases with Mr. Strauss: a cholecystectomy gone bad, and a hypoxic, ischemic encephalopathy case resulting in cerebral palsy. In the former, Mr. Strauss was suggested by defense counsel; in the latter, I suggested him to the defendants, who readily agreed to his involvement. I believe his involvement in these matters was key to a successful resolution.
Mr. Strauss brings a background to mediation, which is rarely encountered in these cases. Initially, when I did some research regarding him, I was skeptical to agree given the primary bulk of his prior work was on behalf of physicians and hospitals. I found, however, that such a perspective provides him with a significant balance and, even greater, specific insight to the issues that were presented in the mediations.
I have found, however, that Mr. Strauss' greatest strength is in his preparedness. His ability to define the issues, and communicate them to both sides early in the process facilitates an atmosphere of compromise, as it is no longer necessary for either party to impress upon him the specific facts of their case, but to focus on the issues at hand, i.e., seeing whether common ground can be obtained.
He has had an excellent rapport with my clients, allowing them to make determinations on their own without any arm-bending or impression that he is "enforcing" his own view of the case upon them.
At its most basic, I would never hesitate to use Mr. Strauss as a mediator; I look forward to the next opportunity to do so.
Should you wish to discuss this any further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
D. Jeffrey Ezra
To whom it may concern,
By way of brief introduction, I am a trial lawyer practicing in Madison County, Illinois. My practice is limited to representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases and 90% of my practice involves representation of injured nursing home residents and their families in claims against skilled nursing facilities located in Central and Southern Illinois and the eastern half of Missouri.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of representing the family of a nursing home resident who was seriously injured and later died as a result of numerous failures of care by the defendant facility. I viewed the case as a substantial one for my client. Counsel for the parties had reached an agreement in principle to mediate the claim if we were able to agree upon a mediator acceptable to both parties. After several futile attempts to reach agreement on various mediators proposed by both parties, my opponent finally suggested Richard Strauss as a possibility.
Of course, in doing my due diligence, I initially reviewed Mr. Strauss' website and was at first highly dismayed to see that his background appeared to be entirely defense-oriented. However, I did note that he was enthusiastically endorsed by several plaintiffs attorneys who 1 admired and trusted. I called two of these lawyers, both of whom assured me that Richard Strauss was experienced and highly knowledgeable in cases involving long-term care issues.
Moreover, both of these lawyers told me, without reservation, that Richard's strong suit was that he did not approach these types of cases with an ideological bent towards defendants (or, I learned later, towards plaintiffs either) but rather with a critical analysis of the issues, the facts, and the law in evaluating the positions of the parties and sharing these candidly with the attorney and client during confidential caucuses in the course of mediation. Both of the plaintiffs lawyers I spoke to highly recommended Richard, so I took a flyer and decided to utilize him as our mediator.
I can say without reservation that this was a good decision on my part. Since the first time I used Richard as a mediator, and in all subsequent mediations I have been involved in with him as the mediator, he has consistently provided thorough subject matter expertise and a level of pre-mediation preparation I have rarely seen in other mediators, which he utilizes in conducting mediations efficiently. He also always has an eye towards establishing a conciliatory environment necessary for the inevitable compromise of both parties' initial positions, without causing my clients to feel that they are being asked to unfairly abandon previously held stances or beliefs about their cases.
Richard's ability to bring the parties to the mediation towards a compromise that can be reduced to an agreement at the end of the day seems to me to be based on his careful discussion and analysis of the facts and issues of each case, as well as his unique ability to put my clients at ease with the negotiation process by speaking with them rather than to them. Additionally, he has a full arsenal of negotiation techniques and often offers options for my clients and me to consider when deciding on our next move. By providing these options, he engages my clients in the process and involves them by giving them choices without invading the province of the lawyer. And it is by these methods that he brings clients to see that a compromise, always necessary for all parties to a mediation, is not and should never been seen as a sign of weakness or failure.
I highly recommend Richard Strauss to counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants in these types of cases.
Very Truly Yours,
Robert H. Gregory
I concentrate my practice in the area of nursing home neglect and abuse litigation. In that context, I have had an opportunity to utilize the mediation services of Richard M. Strauss.
I found Mr. Strauss to be very well versed in the nuances of nursing home neglect and abuse cases. Unlike many mediators, he understands the unique factors involved in nursing home neglect and abuse cases.
Mr. Strauss' background and understanding of nursing home neglect cases allowed the parties to focus on the key issues and critical points of disagreement. By keeping the case focused, Mr. Strauss keeps the mediation process in a productive mode. This enables Mr. Strauss to establish a good rapport with both parties and their respective counsel. Additionally, it allows him to effectively communicate each party's respective position to the other so as to further facilitate the mediation.
Although my cases are based in Illinois and Mr. Strauss is not located in Illinois, this is not an impediment with regard to his knowledge of the issues or an economic barrier to utilization of his mediation services. I highly recommend Mr. Strauss for mediation services for nursing home neglect and abuse cases and I would not hesitate to use him again.
In July, 2012, we submitted a nursing home claim for mediation with Richard Strauss. Richard had been requested by the Defendant and its insurance company. Having never met Richard before, I consulted with colleagues who had done mediations with him. Based on their favorable reviews, I agreed to use Mr. Strauss for our mediation.
Mr. Strauss lived up to the compliments paid him by the colleagues I consulted. He was thoroughly prepared for the mediation having read all of the submissions, including testimony and records that I submitted. Mr. Strauss' experience in the nursing home industry uniquely prepared him to understand the regulatory, medical and nutritional elements of my client's survival and wrongful death claims based on a Stage IV pressure ulcer. In short, Mr. Strauss came to the table with insights that other mediators typically do not have-the insights that working in the field of nursing home litigation provides.
Going into the mediation, I was leery of the possibility that Mr Strauss might have a defense bias from his experience working for the nursing home industry. However, I saw no such defense bias. Instead, his experience in the nursing home industry was a significant asset in the successful effort to reach a settlement in my client's case. In the future I will not only agree to Mr. Strauss as a mediator if he is suggested by the defendants, but I will suggest him myself.
Thomas W. Dillon
In April of 2010 Mr. Strauss mediated a complicated medical malpractice case involving failure to appropriately treat anal cancer. The case was settled due to the services of Mr. Richard M. Strauss.
The terms of the settlement, and even the fact that it settled is confidential, so I cannot refer to the case by name. But it was an extremely complicated case due to the nature of the cancer, the treatment that the patient had received, and the complications which resulted from it.
The defense wanted to mediate the case and recommended Mr. Strauss. I agreed to that recommendation, but did so reluctantly because of his history primarily on the defense side. My fears were totally unfounded.
As I indicated, the medicine in this case was complex, and the case was factually complex. I have practiced medical malpractice law for over 30 years and have participated in numerous mediations. This is the first time where I believed the mediator knew more about the medicine in the case than did I. However, this knowledge was not accompanied by arrogance. He displayed his knowledge in discussions about the case which I perceived to be extraordinarily helpful to both sides.
Mr. Strauss is from Georgia and, to my knowledge, has not practiced in Illinois. However, he was very familiar with the applicable laws. Illinois has the Deadman's Act, a law that prohibits a defendant from testifying against the plaintiff under certain circumstances. This is a complicated area of Illinois law with which Mr. Strauss was entirely familiar at the time of the mediation.
The mediation began with his opening comments which, while obviously prepared in advance, were apparently spontaneous. From the outset he connected with my client, a grieving widow, and her son. She commented upon his knowledge, his expertise and his compassion after settlement.
It was apparent to me early on that the defense did not come with enough money to settle the case. I expressed this, and was told by Mr. Strauss that he recognized the problem. There were other problems, too. One of those problems, was me. I have little, if any, patience, and by the time I had prepared for mediation had thoroughly convinced myself of the merits and became blind to the weaknesses of my case.
In spite of this, Mr. Strauss was able to deal with me and the other side, overcame my pre-mediation biases and, to my surprise, theirs as well. The case settled for an amount higher than they wanted to pay and higher than they came prepared to pay, but in a range which I thought was reasonable and fair to my client.
The bottom line is I would recommend Richard Strauss very highly for any mediation, and, in particular, any mediation involving medical malpractice. His knowledge about the law and the medicine, his ability to deal effectively with my uneducated and emotional client as well as with the educated and unemotional insurance representative was impressive and successful.
Thank you very much for all of your hard work regarding the above-captioned matter. I will keep you in my rolodex. I will refer your name to other counsel when appropriate.
It has been my recent pleasure to partake in a successful mediation of a Nursing Home Negligence case with Richard M. Strauss of Duluth, Georgia acting as the Mediator.
As those of us in the Plaintiffs' bar are aware, Nursing Home Act cases are fraught with even more emotion and uncertainty than most personal injury litigation. Richard's appreciation of the emotional and psychological issues involved as well as his vast experience in the industry helped pave the way for a successful mediation.
As an attorney who represents Plaintiffs exclusively, I would not hesitate to recommend Richard for any injury case and mediation and most particularly, nursing home claims.
Eric L. Terlizzi
At the request of defense counsel, I agreed to allow Mr. Strauss to act as the mediator in a nursing home case filed here in central Illinois. Prior to agreeing to do so, I did speak with a couple of other plaintiff's attorneys. I received positive feedback from them, so I went along with defense counsel's suggestion.
In the last 15 years, I have handled numerous nursing home cases. I also handle medical negligence cases and general plaintiff PI cases. During that time, I have probably used 5 or 6 different mediators in nursing home and medical negligence cases. I am strictly a plaintiffs' attorney. I was very impressed with Richard's grasp of the issues presented in our case. He had, quite obviously, taken the time to go through, thoroughly, the materials that we had sent to him. During the mediation, I did not have to spend my time educating him about the facts or the law. His knowledge of the medical issues was also superb. He did a really good job of facilitating the discussion. I was impressed with the work that he did, as was my client.
In short, I would recommend Richard Strauss to anyone, on either side of the Bar. If you have any questions concerning my experience, you may feel free to call me. I am confident that I will be using his services again, hopefully, soon.
Kenneth B. Graves
I am writing to offer my highest recommendation for Richard Strauss as a litigation mediator. I represented a minor child and his parents in a malpractice case that we felt was very strong and had significant jury appeal. Defense counsel's insurance carrier recommended the services of Mr. Strauss as a mediator.
At first, of course, I was skeptical, as Mr. Strauss had been recommended very strongly by the Defendants. I was concerned about mediating a case in front of a mediator with a healthcare background selected by an insurance company.
In an effort to keep the case moving forward, however, I reviewed Mr. Strauss' resume and recommendations and even called some of the Plaintiffs' lawyers who were listed as referrals on his web site. They all insisted that he would do an excellent job. I found their recommendations to be well founded.
I strongly recommend Mr. Strauss to any Plaintiffs' lawyer. He came to the mediation fully prepared with a deep understanding of all the issues. He also was surprisingly familiar with the history and range of Jury Verdicts in Central Illinois. I think he did an excellent job.
Francis J. Lynch
Recently, I have concluded a mediation of a nursing home wrongful death claim, using Richard Strauss as mediator.
My client and I were pleased with the outcome of the resolution and with Mr. Strauss as a mediator. Mr. Strauss was clearly knowledgeable with both the general area of law and medical science pertaining to this case. He had also familiarized himself with the facts of this dispute and was clearly prepared. His understanding of the facts and of the law allowed the mediation to progress smoothly and purposely to the final conclusion that was clearly acceptable to both sides of the dispute.
I have used mediation on a prior case where the mediator did not take an active role in the session. In this recent mediation, Mr. Strauss provided guidance and insights from the opening comments to the final resolution that created a conciliatory environment while effectively causing the process to move forward. His willingness to offer options and suggestions throughout the entire settlement negotiation helped both sides avoid negotiation pitfalls.
Both my client and I were comfortable with Mr. Strauss as a mediator. We never felt that he favored one side or the other. I would not hesitate to use him again, in whatever jurisdiction or venue I might be litigating.
George W. Tinkham